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Honey flow South East QLD


#1

So, my bees have taken a long time to cap honey this year and I wondered if it’s because of the ridiculous amount of rain and humidity we’ve had in SE QLD this summer. The smell of honey is strong but only about half of each frame had been capped when I last inspected a couple of weeks ago. I recalled reading that sometimes you can encourage them to cap by putting another super on top - don’t know if that is because they need more room to store nectar before finishing off the cells below or because they want to get up and fill the new box. Anyway I bought an ideal super because I’ve wanted to have some honeycomb too and I’ll be keen to see if this works.

My question for other locals is what to look for in the way of flowering trees over the next few months. I notice that the Golden Penda is at least four to five weeks earlier this year than last. Jeff @JeffH commented on a post recently that he was preparing for the June flow and I wonder what plant that is? And if it, too, will be earlier this year. I think I need to start a photographic diary of what’s flowering when… Or if someone knows of a book or publication could you point me in the right direction please.


#2

Hi Cathiemac,

Jerry mentions a book in this article…


#3

Hi Cathie, going by what has been happening here, if the honey was half capped 2 weeks ago, it’s probably fully or close to fully capped now.

I don’t believe that adding another super will encourage the bees to finish capping what they haven’t capped. Remember that they need honey to convert to wax. If honey is a bit slow coming in for a period, it’s fair to assume that they wont have spare honey to convert to wax. They are probably consuming it as fast as it comes in.

If your frames are half capped & the bees are taking their time to finish capping them, it’s worth doing a quick shake down to see if any loose honey comes out. I no loose honey comes out, it’s probably ripe. That’s what I’ve been doing lately.

It’s a face down shake over the open hive. If loose honey comes out, I’ll return the frame. If no honey comes out, I’ll take it to extract.

It’s all the blue gums that I’m hoping to get a flow from in June. However things are happening now, all the rain is going to give us a bumper crop from everything else in the district, Golden Pendas included.

There’s the odd swarm around. Last week a flow hiver phoned me to tell me that his hive swarmed & moved into his neighbors wall cavity.


#4

Just remember that if you put another super on, your bees will need to consume a lot of the stored nectar to draw out the wax for the new box, @JeffH eluded to this in a previous post. This will have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.

There is a publication which may help, you will need to have some understanding to recognise the trees or plants in the first place and then consult this guide. Bear in mind that most plants are triggered to flower depending on climatic conditions which can differ greatly depending on your location. Enjoy…
www.agrifutures.com.au/wp-content/uploads/publications/12-014.pdf


#5

Hmmm, very interesting. I totally see the logic in what you and @JeffH are saying. Part of my motivation in adding the ideal super was also to occupy the large group of bees that are hanging out on the porch for long periods of the day (even when coolish). I assumed they didn’t have enough room in the flow super and/or didn’t have jobs in the brood box. I’m not good at thinking like a bee!
Well, I do have a couple of frames with a lot of nectar/uncapped honey in the fridge that I removed from another hive that needed some more room in the brood box. I could set them in the roof cavity above the inner cover with the hole open so they could clean them out and add to their resources either in the flow frames or in the ideal super. I could certainly use the space in my fridge again! :slight_smile: OR do you think I should just pull the ideal box off and stick to the single super? Thanks for your advice. Still hard to work out what to do after fooling around with bees for nearly a year and a half!


#6

Hi Dan, thanks for the link to Jerry’s page. I now have one of the books he mentioned on hold at the library and I have sourced the other at a beekeeping supply shop (it’s $58 and a forty minute drive so I’ll have to work up to that one). It looks like a ‘must read.’ though.


#7

I’m in the Toowoomba area and I have 2 hives beside each other. I have harvested all 8 frames from one hive and nothing from the other. The bees in the one I harvested are far more active and there appears to be lots more bees. I don’t understand why there is such a huge difference between two hives that are right beside each other.


#8

You have not given a lot of information but if there is brood in both hives but one is noticeably down in bee numbers I would select a frame or two of brood from the strong hive and change them over with frames from the weaker hive, shaking the bees off into their respective hives so the frames are bee free when going into their new hives. With a winter coming on you need to build up the the strength of your hive. Do this on a warm and wind free day if at all possible…
Regards


#9

Hi Cathie, our full flowhive is not as full compared to last 2 years.The full flow hive had 3 of 6 100% capped around January and we took off those 3. Since then only 2 of 6 frames have since been 100% capped. The hybrid has only 1 frame fully capped and the other 2 frames only 25% since added in begin of January.
Previous 2 Januaries have had nearly all 100% capped, but this year virtually no rain in Jan then rain all the time since. The hives are really strong.
We now keep extra migratory lids and metal queen excluders and swap them after a major inspection to collect the comb and make it faster to get the hive cleaned up. The roof is full of comb regularly so just shake off the bees swap it out and take the lid away to take off the comb.


#10

Interesting Gaz. You’ve noticed the same from last year to this. My hives seem strong too - busy and lots of bees, but while the super looks loaded it hasn’t been finished off. i had some set backs with splits and swarming and queenlessness so I actually have not harvested from flow frames since late last year. I have crushed and strained a couple of frames taken out of the brood boxes to give them room but no flow honey for a while.
Your bees are capping the honey in the lid but not finishing off the frames? There are no ‘rules’ with bees it seems!


#11

Jeff, I’m excited to read you say that you anticipate a bumper crop going forward. There are lots of gums in the golf course and bushland near us and the bees were very busy during the cool months last year so I’m hopeful too.
The honey test is a good one but I need the capping in order to extract the flow frames in situ because I don’t want any leaking. It’s a good point that they might be mostly done capping the inner frames since the last inspection so I will check again this weekend.
Wow those bees are swarming late aren’t they? I guess the temperatures have stayed up long enough for them to think they’ll get settled before it gets too cool.


#12

Yes, it is late for swarming. They expect a high temp of 30 on Sunday.

I was thinking that maybe that hive of yours needs a nuc taken from it, if so many bees are hanging outside, otherwise it might swarm.

I not long got home from checking out the 8 hives at my second bee site. I brought home 5 & a half boxes of honey to extract. Plus one lid full of comb. Lucky I had a replacement for it. Most of the frames a fully capped. That’s always nice to see.


#13

@JeffH This is April and today noticed some black wattle in flower which is strange for this time of year, guess it is because of the recent hot days.
The hives are doing well bringing in nectar and pollen and I am so pleased with the temperament of the hives, comb is being drawn. Even the latest hive has bees on the inner foundation comb.
Regards


#14

That’s good news Peter. I saw a lot of yellow wattle out the other day, while driving around.

A lot of blue gums are in bud at the moment, so I’m looking forward to a flow from them.
cheers

PS Did you encounter any hot hives with your past experience?


#15

@JeffH No overly hot hives, most of the time they were fairly calm with lots of foraging. It is much easier to recall an angry hive and to go blank on the 99% of hives that were a dream to work on. I wore gloves back them which made handling frames a bit clumsy. My mentor back then was adamant about re-queening each Spring and one of his theories was it made for calmer hives more focused on foraging. He was brutal on a queen that was not performing to what he expected.
I have enough confidence to work without gloves now to increase my sense of touch but still have them handy when and if the hive is annoyed but these girls show no interest in me working on them. Not even a defensive posture.
What you call yellow wattle is likely what I am calling black wattle. black bark on trees I guess that can grow to 10 metres but more common 5 metres. There is quiet a bit about now and I guess from the recent hot days and rain they might be reacting to a false spring time.
Regards


#16

Hi Peter, yeah that must be the same wattle that you’re seeing. There must be a lot of paper bark trees about to flower, They always seem to flower this time of year when it rains.

If you want to chase some leptospermum honey, I know there is some around Twin Waters later in the year.

Those bees might have a little bit of attitude once their population builds up. I’ve been weeding out the real cranky queens, however my bees are prone to swarming. Something to be aware of in the coming spring.

I agree with what you say about remembering the real hot hives.

Not much beekeeping today with this rain around.

I’ll ttyl, cheers


#17

I’m seeing what seems like strange plant activity. As you know, in the southern states like Vic and Tas, we are still well over a month until winter. These are photos of spring flower plants on the move. Freesia and Dutch Iris. Anyone else seeing early stuff?


#18

I had a bit of a wander about between rain today and there is a lot of tip growth on the paperbark trees near the hives that will form into flowers if we get a bit more rain. I am sure we are seeing the same wattle and wouldn’t be surprised if we see a ‘false spring’ bloom along the coast.
The hives are on the Coolum Men’s Shed property and there is a lot of interest in the hives from the guys there, one even went to them for my weekly inspection with a smock and veil on, said he found it ‘amazing’ and couldn’t stop talking about it at lunch time.
Thinking about the bees swarming and getting a bit testy as they build up numbers, maybe making the hive a double brood might overcome that issue. Might be worth doing one hive with a double as a test. What is your thoughts?
My thinking is that the colony wants to keep growing and some swarming might occur simply because of the lack of cells for the queen available to lay eggs. My mentor back then figured the colony needed to be busy and if the hive was right for them it reduced the issue of swarming.
I bought a 2 frame extractor on EBay last night, it will be interesting to compare the yield over next year compared to the Flow Hives.
I remember one hive at Mudgee, no problems taking 2 super boxes off it and shaking the bees into the hive and adding two that had been extracted on my own. a few days later I was back at the same hive to see how they were going and decided to take another box off. My Dad was with me and wanted to see what I was doing up close so put him in a spare suit, took him and the empty box I was carrying to the hive and they instantly went ballistic on him still ignoring me. Remember I asked you if the bees remember someones sent or something and don’t see a threat from a regular visitor to the hive, I still have an open mind on that and it was only a single episode of anything similar but I was the one working on the hive and my dad was maybe 6 feet from them. He got back to the ute 50 yards away and was still under attack while I had no problem from them. Dad reconned I had set him up !!! When I got him safely in the ute I returned to the hive to finished it off and it behaved as a normal but slightly warm hive.
If you have a spare nuc let me know.
Regards


#19

@JeffH is definitely a single brood guy. Always. :blush:


#20

Hi Peter, I’ll have a spare nuc as soon as one of those other nucs finish up with a proved mated queen within the next couple of weeks.

Wilma often recalls a bloke where we had bees once. This bloke couldn’t go anywhere near the bees without getting chased. At the same time we were fine. He bought a couple of hives of his own, but he finished up selling them. The bees must have felt more threatened by him than Wilma or myself.

Dawn is correct in saying that I’m a one super brood bloke. I’ve had lots of double brood hives over the years & found that I prefer a single brood hive for many reasons.

Firstly the super with frames is better served as a brood box for a second colony. Then it’s easier to manage the brood of a single brood box. Easier to find the queen. Plus a lot of frames often sit unused in the bottom brood box, except for pollen, which can be vulnerable to SHB infestation.

Anyway I’ll ttyl Pete, cheers